It’s a naive view to think that a business only needs to be concerned with the sustainability actions that happen within their four walls. Being in business today means not just having oversight of the environmental and ethical impacts across every part and stage of the business but also managing those impacts.
So, why is supply chain sustainability so important? Research suggests that for consumer products, the supply chain may amount to as much as 90% of the environmental impact.1 For businesses that want to proactively manage their ethical, social and environmental footprint the supply chain is a highly significant part of the story.
Supply chain sustainability issues
Research on Google Trends data shows that searches for terms like “sustainable products”, “eco-friendly” and “environmentally friendly” have all seen a recent, sustained increase.2 Today’s consumers demand action and transparency. Research shows that as many as 60% of people are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. But these consumers also expect brands to come to the table in driving serious change.3
That’s not to mention many of the other benefits of a focus on sustainability, such as cost-savings, better financial results and enhanced innovation.3 When you have a sustainable supply chain, you can make the most of the benefits of sustainability by truly integrating your efforts across every touchpoint within your business, either direct or indirect.
One of the biggest risks from supply chain sustainability issues arises when you don’t have complete visibility. You might be sure of what’s happening within your own operations but do you have that same level of visibility with your suppliers? Or their suppliers?
In one study, it was found that while many businesses had visibility of their first-tier suppliers, that is the suppliers they work directly with, they didn’t have the same for lower-tier suppliers.4
How to improve supply chain sustainability
For retailers, there are absolutely considerations around limiting resource consumption and waste. But there is also a need to stock brands that share the same sustainability values as yours.
Many of the brands we stock at Unique Health products are leading the way in sustainability and ensuring transparency with their own suppliers. Here are just a few examples.
As a B corp, Ethique is a brand with sustainability at the heart of everything they do. They have direct trade partnerships with producers where possible to ensure fair prices and environmental protection. They offset 120% of their carbon emissions and use cruelty-free and vegan ingredients.
CLIF Bar models their sustainability on the premise of thinking like a tree. That is, they use organic and sustainable ingredients, use renewable energy and eco-friendly packaging and transport their products in transportation that doesn’t pollute. This is part of their commitment to reducing their environmental footprint in everything they do.
Built on the fair trade philosophy, Alaffia offers equal environment opportunities, pays a fair local price or wage along with healthy and safe working conditions, and engages in environmentally sustainable practices. They also reinvest product sales into empowerment projects in the local communities where they source their ingredients and make their products.
Since their beginnings in the late 1960s, Earthwise has been committed to providing eco-friendly cleaning products and looking for innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact across the entire product life cycle. Their biodegradable, plant-based ingredients are grey water and septic tank safe, and packaged in recyclable packaging, much of which is made from 75% recycled plastic.
Recognised as one of the Best for the World B Corps in Environment in 2021, PATCH considers the impact of their everyday footprint across all areas of the production and supply of their Bamboo Bandages. The compostable bandages are made from sustainable bamboo with no latex and 100% compostable packaging.
Boost your supply chain sustainability
We stock these leading brands and hundreds more across the natural health, fair trade, eco-friendly and organic categories. Each brand has their own sustainability story and values that can resonate with your customers and help improve your supply chain sustainability. Shop online with us 24/7, or call our friendly sales team on 1800 787 904. If you don’t have a wholesale account with us yet, you can register for one here.
1. McKinsey, 2016.
2. JP Morgan, 2021.
3. GWI., 2021.
4. Forbes, 2020.
5. Harvard Business Review, 2020.